Sea Change: An Open Door Approach to Mental Health

A ‘sea change’ is defined as a profound or notable transformation; a striking change in perspective on a particular issue – usually for the better – which affects a group or society at large.

In the fall of 2016, the residents of the Burin Peninsula found themselves in a crisis: 14 people had died by suicide in 16 months…four in the town of Grand Bank alone. Mental health was identified as a priority when it came to primary health care needs.

Communities around the coast were in pain. People who needed help faced long wait lists for mental health and addictions services.

Health-care providers felt overwhelmed and helpless. Everyone agreed that change was needed – urgently.

Three years later, the change is dramatic. Access to care is immediate. Waitlists have disappeared. Prevention is the priority. Residents are optimistic. Health-care providers feel reinvigorated.

A sea change.

Here’s how it happened.

To see a longer video version (13:38) of the dramatic transformation in mental health and addiction services on the Burin Peninsula, click here. ■

This video was produced by Deborah Collins, a communications manager with Eastern Health, based in St. John’s – in collaboration with the Department of Health and Community Services and Vivid Communications.



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